Canada’s biggest banks are expected to report a relatively strong finish to the financial year when they start reporting fourth-quarter earnings tomorrow, but their capital markets divisions could leave investors jittery about the future.
“It’s going to be a good quarter, for sure, for capital markets, but there may be room for disappointment if people have overestimated just how good it’s going to be,” said Brad Smith, an analyst at Blackmont Capital. “If we get a disproportionate amount of earnings coming from trading profits, that’s going to be viewed as lower quality because it’s simply not sustainable.”
Analysts will be closely monitoring the capital markets divisions, which have powered the last couple quarters and helped drive profits at the banks.
An estimate by Genuity Capital Markets puts overall trading revenue in the Canadian banks up 125 per cent so far this year over last, which is worth about $5.5 billion. That compares to an increase in provisions for credit losses of 100 per cent, or $3.6 billion.